In the latest instalment of our 2020 Back to Work Tips series, Jan Strassen of One Stop Order Processing discusses not just what you automation you should enable in your business but also how to monitor and improve your workflow systems
Why spend hours doing jobs that you can automate, work smarter not harder and free up your time to spend building your business.
These are my top tips for automation:
1) Analyse your pick and pack processes
Map out your daily tasks. Once you have your map, allocate times to it, just make a list of the jobs and note down time spent on each one per day.
Look at each job in the list and make sure that it is necessary. Can you stop doing it or do it in a more efficient way? Make sure that everything you need to do each job is available so that time isn’t wasted when you pack. Try to batch up tasks, so if you are picking each order individually then look at picking all orders at once than then packing each one once you have the items you need. If you get a lot of orders for a particular product, process them all at the same time.
If you make some big changes in this step, repeat step one again to get your new processing times
Make a new list of tasks, put the one that takes up most time at the top and the one that takes the least time at the bottom.
Go through each task and find ways to automate the task. Put most effort into the tasks at the top, saving time on these tasks will save you the most time overall.
Software is the key to this stage usually, find a solution that allows you to process orders in batches rather than one at a time and look for one that links to all of the systems you use to reduce rekeying of customer data.
These are tasks that can typically be automated through software :
- Validating order content – software can look at your orders and highlight issues important to you – high order value for example, remote or overseas locations, orders for particular products.
- Checking stock is available – if you don’t always have everything in stock, your order processing software should be able to let you know which orders can’t be shipped right away.
- Printing or Emailing Customer invoices – you can automate this so that the invoices are sent out automatically when an order is received or shipped.
- Generating postage labels – you shouldn’t have to generate labels one at a time, you should be able to do them all at once.
- Sending feedback to eBay or Amazon
- Sending tracking numbers to eBay or Amazon
- Sending emails to customers to let them know that an order will be delayed because the products is out of stock – send it to all customers that have placed an order for the product at once.
- Plus many more.
Repeat this process every so often to make sure that the steps you have put into place are working and are actually saving you time, if they are not, take another look and see what you need to change.